Supply of Elector Information for use in medical research or a health screening program

Updated: 29 June 2020

The AEC may provide Commonwealth Electoral Roll information (Elector Information) for medical research or conducting a health screening program. This is permitted under item 2 of the table in subsection 90B(4) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act). Nevertheless, the AEC’s first obligation is to the elector and the provision of Elector Information remains at the discretion of the Commission.

The use of Elector Information for medical research or conducting a health screening program is governed by regulation 11 of the Electoral and Referendum Regulation 2016 (the Regulation).

Eligibility

Applications for Elector Information are assessed against AEC internal guidelines and requirements within regulation 11 of the Regulation. Of particular concern to the AEC when assessing an application is whether:

  • the project qualifies as medical research or a health screening program,
  • the project is an appropriate use of the roll,
  • the project has adequate measures in place to secure the data, and
  • the benefits of the project outweigh the public interest in protecting elector privacy and has adequate measures in place to protect elector privacy.

Medical research

A person or organisation requesting Elector Information for medical research must demonstrate that the project adheres to the National Health and Medical Research Council Guidelines under section 95 of the Privacy Act 1988.

To qualify as medical research, the project must:

  • Involve the diagnosis and/or treatment and/or prevention of disease, and
  • Be relevant to public health and safety, and/or
  • Relate to the provision, funding and monitoring of health services.

Medical research may include epidemiological research.

Health screening program

A person or organisation requesting Elector Information to conduct a health screening program must demonstrate that the program:

  • Has been approved by the Secretary of the Department administered by the Minister administering the National Health Act 1953, and
  • Is conducted in accordance with the Guidelines for the conduct of public health screening programs with particular reference to privacy and the management of personal information published in the Gazette on 1 December 1993 (Government Notice GN 48, 8 December 1993) (the Guidelines).

It must also satisfy the definition of a health screening program:

  • Section 1.6 of the Guidelines defines screening as ‘the presumptive identification of unrecognised disease or defects by the application of tests, examinations or other procedures which can be applied rapidly. Screening tests sort out apparently well persons who probably have a disease from those who probably do not.
  • Screening is only beneficial if treatment of the screen detected condition results in a better long term outcome (in terms of reduced morbidity or mortality) than treatment if the same condition presenting clinically.
  • Public health screening programs apply a screening test in an organised manner, within a population, to reduce mortality or morbidity in that population from a particular disease.

Conditions of receiving Elector Information

The provision of Elector Information is at the discretion of the Commission. Any release of Elector Information will be governed by a Safeguard Agreement entered into by the applicant with the AEC for the protection of elector personal information. The Safeguard Agreement sets out the terms and conditions of storage, use, access and destruction of Elector Information that the Commission takes into account when deciding on exercising that discretion. The Safeguard Agreement does not create any right or entitlement to receive Elector Information. It is recommended that you review and consider the requirements and conditions for receiving and handling Elector Information as outlined in the Safeguard Agreement and associated documents and ensure that you are able to comply with the conditions prior to submitting an application.

Elector Information

The AEC may provide the following Elector Information about electors to medical researchers or health screening programs:

  • name
  • address
  • sex
  • age range (each age range must cover a minimum of two years).

Date of birth cannot be provided. Address information also cannot be provided for silent electors and is not available for itinerant and eligible overseas electors. Elector Information for research purposes may only be provided as a random sample from all federal divisions within a specific state(s) and/or territory(s) or specific federal divisions. Requests for extracts on other boundaries may not be approved or may incur additional costs.

Preparing and lodging an application

Complete the application form for:

Ensure your responses are tailored towards requesting Elector Information from the AEC. Ensure that filenames of attachments are easily identifiable and reflective of their content. Submit your application here.

Timeframe

The AEC will endeavour to assess applications within eight weeks. However, the AEC's core business will take priority and delays can be expected around the federal election period.

Cost

On approval of an application, applicants are required to pay the processing costs associated with extracting Elector Information of $2,089.09 (incl. GST) per extract. Additional costs may be incurred if additional work is required to extract or prepare the data or if additional extracts are required.

Delivery

Elector Information will be supplied:

  • on a CD-Rom
  • as a delimited text file
  • password encrypted
  • by registered post.

Contact the AEC for further information about accessing Elector Information.

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